6 Step Guide To Painting Baseboard Trim (With Carpet)

Last Updated On September 22, 2023

Looking to paint your baseboard trim in a carpeted room?

Perfect,  you're in the right place! In This Pro Paint Corner guide you'll learn:

  • Our simple 6 step approach to getting this right without spilling a drop of paint on your carpet
  • What you need to avoid when painting baseboard
  • And the essential supplies you'll need
how to paint baseboards with carpet near trim

Ready to get this job done? Let's get started!

Our #1 Tip When Painting Baseboard Trim

When an area has wall-to-wall carpeting, it can be tricky to paint or touch up your baseboards.

Luckily, there is a simple way to achieve clean lines on your trim without getting paint on the carpet.

What’s the solution?

Tucking your tape beneath the baseboards! Whether you are a professional painter looking for a solution to this common problem, or a homeowner attempting a DIY project, this method is foolproof.

Do not forget to clean the baseboards.

The last thing you want is for your beautifully painted trim to have textured spots from trapped dust. Make sure you wipe thoroughly to avoid this.

Do not pull the tape off too early or too quickly.

Removing the painter’s tape before the paint is completely dry may result in drips running into the carpet or uneven lines.

Additionally, peeling the tape off hastily may accidentally rip the paint from the baseboards causing you to have to repaint an entire section.

Do not use separate cans of paint.

While a little paint can go a long way, you want to be sure you have enough paint for the entire job. If you are using a previously opened can as well as new paint, mix the two into a larger container prior to applying to the baseboards.

Chemical composition and color formulas can vary slightly between cans, especially if they were purchased at two separate times. Always mix into one container and stir well to ensure an even-colored coating.

Did you know: While baseboards serve to make a room look nicer, they're also made to protect the wall from things like debris, scuffing, and other damage.

Supplies You’ll Need For The Job

You will need the following supplies to paint your baseboards: 

  • 2-inch painter’s tape or masking tape
  • a putty knife
  • a roll of plastic tarp or drop cloth
  • a clean, dry rag
  • a 2-inch paint brush
  • your paint of choice

We Recommend These Products

While you can certainly choose supplies for your painting project based on personal preference and experience, we have found these products to be the highest rated on the market. 

Painter’s Tape

FrogTape Multi-Surface Painter’s Tape is excellent for any paint project, providing crisp and clean lines every time. You will find it available in various sizes, the largest being 48mm (approximately 2 inches).

Putty Knife

For this particular job, you can choose a cost-effective putty knife. Amazon boasts the Red Devil 3-Piece set as their best selling putty knife set, an inexpensive plastic set for simple jobs. However, if you are seeking a higher-end putty knife for long-term use, try any of these stainless steel putty knives. You should also consider sandpaper to sand the putty smooth.

Plastic Drop Cloth

While a canvas drop cloth is great for larger projects, plastic or disposable drop cloths are less expensive for a small project such as painting baseboards. And for this particular project, just about any lightweight plastic sheet will do. You can check out Amazon’s best sellers or head into your local hardware store to find a drop cloth that fits your budget.

Cleaning Rags

In the hardware store, you will find various rags for painters. When wiping down your baseboards and prepping to paint, a regular t-shirt rag should do the trick.

Paint Brush

To avoid streaks or broken bristles in your paint, it is imperative to use the right paint brush. For a high performing, 2-inch angular trim brush, try a Purdy XL Cub. This nylon/polyester paint brush will work well for cutting along the edge of your baseboards above the carpet, and works great with both oil-based and acrylic paints making it versatile for any trim project.

Trim Paint

Every paint brand boasts a product made specifically for trimwork, and they often come in both acrylic and alkyd/oil options. When looking for paint on a DIY project or something with simpler clean up, acrylic paint will be the most painter-friendly. 

When comparing brands such as Behr, Benjamin Moore, Dutch Boy, Glidden, Olympic, Sherwin-Williams, and Valspar, the best choice appears to be Benjamin Moore. Benjamin Moore Advance paint goes on more easily than other products, and is more durable and easier to clean.

Read More >> How to Remove Liquid Latex From Carpet

How To Paint Baseboards Near Your Carpet 

Step 1 - Put painter’s tape down along the edge of the carpet, slightly overlapping the baseboards.

Run your tape along the entire length of the carpet, beneath the baseboards you intend to paint. You will want to leave approximately 1-inch of the edge of the tape overlapping the baseboards.

If your tape does not seem to stick very well to the carpet, you can substitute your painter’s tape for packing tape.

Step 2 - Use a putty knife to press down on the painter’s tape, positioning it between the baseboards and the carpet.

Once your tape has been placed along the edge of the carpet, take a putty knife and press lightly onto the tape, moving it beneath the bottom of the baseboard.

This will ensure the edges of your carpet are protected completely from any paint if your paint brush comes in contact with the floor. Continue pressing on the tape along the edge of the baseboards down the length of the wall.

Step 3 - Lay down and secure a plastic drop cloth over the remaining carpeted area.

After your tape has been put in place, you can lay down your plastic drop cloth to cover the rest of your carpet. This will protect your carpet from any accidental spills or drips. While covering the entire area may not be necessary in some cases, it greatly reduces the risk of damaging your carpet while painting baseboards.

Step 4 - Wipe baseboards clean and dry prior to applying paint.

Using a clean, dry cloth, wipe down any dust, dirt, or debris on your baseboards. If the baseboards are new, be sure to catch any dust from construction. If you are repainting the baseboards, they may be covered in built up dust or dirt.

In this case, you may need to use a damp cloth first, followed by a quick wipedown with a dry cloth to ensure they are completely dried before you begin painting.

Step 5 - Paint the baseboards.

Now that you have your painter’s tape in place, laid down your plastic drop cloth, and have cleaned and dried your baseboards, it is time to paint!

Using a 2-inch paint brush, apply an even coat of paint along the length of your baseboards. Once the first coat has dried completely, apply a second coat. If necessary, you can apply additional coats of paint as needed.

Step 6 - Remove plastic drop cloth and painter’s tape once the paint has dried completely.

After your final coat of paint has dried, you can lift and discard the plastic drop cloth. To remove your painter’s tape, gently lift the tape and peel away from the baseboards. Pull the tape directly backward from the trim, and aim to keep it as low to the carpet as possible. 

Do not pull the tape in an upward motion, as this may accidentally peel paint from the baseboards. Instead, slowly peel it away from the wall toward yourself. If there are areas where the paint has dried fairly thick along the tape, use your putty knife to break the tape away from the wall without peeling the paint off of the baseboard.

What To Avoid When Painting Baseboards Above Carpet

Now that you know what you should do for a clean paint job, let’s talk about things you should not do.

Do not skip the painter’s tape.

Unless you are a professional with an extremely steady hand and an impressive track record of clean-cut trimwork, always use tape.

The tape will not only help guide you, but it will keep any accidental slips from causing paint stains in the carpet.

Read More >> How to Remove Spray Paint From Walls

Meet Your Pro Paint Corner Author

Phil Ash

Phil Ash

After running my own painting business and 20+ years of painting experience, I’m still learning new things everyday about how to nail the perfect paint job. In addition to myself, I started Pro Paint Corner to connect you with painting experts to provide unbiased answers to all your painting questions.

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Phil Ash

Phil Ash

After running my own painting business and 20+ years of painting experience, I’m still learning new things everyday about how to nail the perfect paint job. In addition to myself, I started Pro Paint Corner to connect you with painting experts to provide unbiased answers to all your painting questions.

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